25, Feb, 21

Wizards Of The Coast Exploring More Direct-To-Consumer Sales

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Wizards of the Coast (WotC) President Chris Cocks said at an investor event today that Magic: The Gathering would be exploring direct-to-consumer channels in the future.

This was one of several developments about Magic‘s future outlined by owners Hasbro at their 2021 Investor Event. Hipsters of the Coast, a Magic news and strategy site, broke the big news on Twitter.

This could mean that Magic is looking to sell products directly to collectors and players, bypassing their local game store (LGS) network.

Wizards of the Coast interfaces and builds relationships with game stores through their Wizards Play Network or WPN. The WPN allows stores to source sealed product from distributors, access promotions, and run sanctioned Magic events.

Stores that fit certain requirements set by the WPN can qualify for Premium status. Premium WPN stores receive additional prize support, special marketing materials, and exclusives events.

Wizards of the Coast also announced that the Magic: The Gathering Netflix series is set to debut in 2022.

What does this mean for local game stores?

Wizards of the Coast has already begun testing the waters of direct selling through their Secret Lair series. While most Magic products are available to LGS through distributors and the WPN, these limited drop products sell on a WotC platform and bypass LGS entirely.

The news that more Magic products could make their way directly to consumers through WotC is not entirely surprising, given the success of Secret Lairs. We don’t have access to the numbers, but the fact that new drops are announced frequently is a good indicator that they are a hit.

It will be interesting to see how aggressively Wizards of the Coast explores these direct channels, because LGS have been a key driver of Magic‘s success over the years. Distributing special products like Commander decks and Masters sets was a great way to grow local stores and communities. Selling products directly to consumers may cut into the profit margins of the stores that have made the game so successful.

The timing of the news is also unfortunate for local store owners, who have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the suspension of in-store play still in effect in many parts of the world, stores have had to adjust their sales strategy to stay afloat.

It looks like Wizards of the Coast is adapting their sales strategy to the post-COVID “new normal,” and it remains to be seen how this will affect their network of stores.

Read More: Black Is Magic Secret Lair Drop Available To Order

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